#58 – Never Let Me Go (2010) – Grade: A Can you say “beautifully shot”? Can you say “sucker for color schemes”? Cinematography here is gorgeous. I love it. This film made me very sad though, very sad. It’s excellently executed and performed. The script is fantastic and the creativity behind the story is oddly realistic. The love triangle is like none I’ve ever seen. Its a different type of story and that alone makes it brilliant. The score is great as well.
Shame: Almost Art.

Let me be perfectly clear right off the bat: this is a pretentious film. Now, I like pretentious, artsy films, but I just want to you let you know that so you don’t go run off and expect something that isnt there. And if you just want to see Michael Fassbender’s dick, just look it up online…you doing that right now?…Ok, I’ll wait….Done? Awesome, ok we can actually begin now. 

Again, let me be perfectly clear about something else. I wasn’t a big fan of this film. However, notice how I keep calling it a film? It is a film and not a movie. There are important, artistic values going on within this film, but I believe that they are so fucking jumbled by the director/writer that the inherent art is almost lost. In fact, I am going to go on the record right now that if someone writes the film, they should not direct it. Yes, there are a few cases where it works, but they are the exception to the rule. The writer/director Steve McQueen (not the famous guy from the 50’s) all but loses his vision, and if it was not for the amazing acting chops of Michael Fassbender and Casey Mulligan, I would consider this film pretentious trash. 

Quick synopsis: Michael Fassbender is living well in New York as a sexy, wealthy advertising salesman, but he is ultimately alone. He has no real friends or apparent family in his life. He goes out with his boss, and together they hit on women at clubs (Fassbender more successfully than his boss). Fassbender, however, is a sex addict. His addiction has lead to not being able to really relate with people, and it causes frequent personal issues. For example, he as apparently brought down his company’s computer system because he cruises hardcore porn sites all day. One day, his sister comes to stay, and his issues start coming out of the closet one by one.

It sounds really good on paper, and I really believe that McQueen had a fantastic idea, but as it usually is, a writer/director’s vision becomes flooded with ways to make it “better”. This is particularly bad in this instance because McQueen is something of an artsy guy to begin with. The overwhelming power of directing and the artsiness of McQueen lead to the issue I had with the film: the first hour. Literally nothing happens for the first 52 minutes. Do you know why I know it was 52 minutes? Because I literally checked when things started happening. And it isn’t as if he was setting up tension for a dramatic second half. Nothing happens, wait, I take that back, 2 things happen. You see Fassbender have sex, where you see his dick (there you go, internet), and you see Casey Mulligan nude (again, for you, internet), and through the nudeness of Mulligan, the audience sees something that could have been so important, something powerful, but I feel as if it was lost somewhere. The first half is littered with “artistic” shots, like Mulligan singing for literally 8 minutes. Fassbender jogging for 4 minutes. And the first 10 minutes of the film is almost silent, and there definitely isnt any talking. It is pretentious for pretentiousness sake, and that is something I really hate. Now, the second half is amazing. You could almost call the last 45-50 minutes perfect, but you have to deal with an hour of snobbery to get to it. It is such a bummer. 

I do have to acknowledge the pure acting skill that is Fassbender and Mulligan, however. They both deserve high praise, not only for the way they present their craft, but for the literal and metaphorical balls it took to take these rolls. They present themselves naked, physically and mentally, on the screen, and that is not something poor directing can take from them. I feel as if these two and Ryan Gosling are the future Greats, and the previous two certainly prove it here.

I am torn on the reviewing of ‘Shame’, so I am going to clarify it right now: Only see this for the performances within. The story is not terribly great, the directing (in my opinion) is subpar, and the writing is average to slightly above average. The acting, however, is out of the park.

+Fassbender and Mulligan are acting dynamos

-Pretentious for pretentiousness sake
-Almost dares you to quit watching it, and not in a “pushing the limits” way, in a boring way

I give “Shame” 6 out of 10 awkward brother/sister nude scenes, but the breakdown of that review is as follows. it gets 1/5 for the first half, and it gets that 1 because Fassbender and Mulligan’s performances. The second half gets 5/5. 

Analysis: Obamacare's implementation costs 5x more than its benefits

As you might expect, the government’s inefficiency and waste is always astounding, and Obamacare is no exception.  Are taxpayers getting their money’s worth?  Not by a long shot. 

from Forbes:

Start with the direct costs. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that spending for all the different parts of ObamaCare (health insurance subsidies, Medicaid expansion, administrative costs, etc.) will come to about $2 trillion over the next ten years. That works out to about $2,000 for every household in America, every year.

You won’t get a bill for your share of all this, however. Most of the money is collected in hidden ways, such as taxes, health insurance plans, drugs, medical devices and even tanning salons. The cost to you will show up in higher prices, lower wages and (for the elderly) less access to medical care.

That $2,000, however, is just the beginning. Turns out there are indirect costs as a result of the harm done to the economy. For reasons I’ll explain below, ObamaCare will cause people to work less and produce less. In fact, University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan estimates ObamaCare lowers the return from working by 10%. As Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw explains, that implies a long term loss to the economy on the order of 5% of GDP – or more than $800 billion a year at current prices.

The indirect cost to the economy, then, equals more than $8,000 per household per year – or four times the size of the direct budget outlays.

Adding the two together, the total cost of ObamaCare comes to more than $10,000 per household per year!

What are we getting in return for this humongous cost? Well, if we assume that the $200 billion we are spending every year insuring the uninsured is really worth the money we are spending, then the benefit of ObamaCare is worth one-fifth of the overall cost to the economy to implement it.

read the rest

There are intangibles here that the author can’t even account for.  Obamacare is a massive invitation for fraud and incompetence.  We have no way of predicting how much that will end up costing the United States taxpayers. 

The moral of the story is this: you are far more qualified to handle your finances and your health care decisions than any politician in Washington.